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To help job seekers during COVID-19, these two entrepreneurs take a fine and innovative initiative

By Anuj Cariappa

New Delhi, July 08: Lay-offs, firings, furloughs dominate the headlines. COVID-19 has dramatically altered the hiring landscape in India. As in other parts of the globe, thousands have been laid off indefinitely and without compensation. However, amid the gloom, there are companies, which are still hiring. Some of the domains being: E-commerce, Pharma, Food Companies, Online Education and Gaming, which are among those looking for people.

To help job seekers during COVID-19, these two entrepreneurs take a fine and innovative initiative

A few students as well as professionals have sprung up with various different ideas with one common objective to help those who are losing or not getting jobs or internships. As it is perfectly said: "Great Challenges also bring Great Opportunities."

People started helping out with various possible activities and some of them were creating WhatsApp, Telegram Groups sharing Job Updates. Some others made an online tracker of hiring, with firing happening in various companies while some created groups of all the fired employees etc.

I was also one of them who thought of starting a social initiative of helping out people in this tough situation but frankly, at that time it was a very random thought. This thought provoked me again, when on 27th April I read a news article which read "A B2B Company lays off 3,000 Contract Workers" in that it consists of many delivery executives and field sales team. This hit some idea in my mind as when I myself face challenges while hiring a field sales team as these are not available easily over various job portals like Naukri.com, Shine.com, Monster India, LinkedIn etc.

Thinking as an HR? I'm sorry, I forgot to Introduce Myself:

I am Suyash and if I am able to describe myself in one word, then 'Hustler' will be my first pick. I firmly believe in 'Doing & Growing,' and continue doing my bit in everything I come across. I started my career journey with Bijnis (A B2B E-Commerce App) starting as intern in marketing, then hustling in generating sales and currently building and handling 100+ Feet on Street Pan India Sales Team with my colleague Rajat.

Potential Problem in Market:

On 27th April, I created a Google Form with the title Register yourself for Job Opportunities which consists of necessary information like Name, Number, Mail Id, Field of Job, City, Last Company Name, Last Salary, Designation. I posted this out on a Facebook Group. My major objective, which I thought at that time, was that I could use this database while we were planning to expand Feet on Street Sales Team in Bijnis, as whenever I/Rajat use to do hiring from past 8 Months we always faced challenges during our hiring of either tele-caller sales or field sales person.

To help job seekers during COVID-19, these two entrepreneurs take a fine and innovative initiative

We even tried out a few job agencies also but it doesn't prove useful as they just provide leads which are too random & never use to meet what our demand is, there is always a gap between what is demanded & what is provided by job agencies/portals (supply). Also many times we use to get many CV's over mail, which is again a tough job to check each & every CV & then filter out candidates.

An opportunity rising:

The Google Form started getting good responses, which I never thought of, in hardly 24hrs. It crossed 100+ Job Seekers and details at that time I thought that I can help these Job Seekers by sharing it with other 2-3 HR's/Sales Head who will be looking to do field sales hiring. After a few days, I called Rajat and shared this and to my utter surprise, he was also trying to do something similar more for corporate employees. We both decided to collaborate together on a mission or an experiment to simplify the Job Marketplace Model by being a perfect equilibrium between the demand and supply. The ultimate goal is to help out Job Seekers.

What comes next?

We started a social initiative to help Job Seekers Community on a scale and launched it as a Covid 19- Free Jobs Forum from the point of view of HRs and started sharing it on our LinkedIn Profile as a post. Apart from that, we started commenting on various LinkedIn posts where we used to see people getting laid off, fired or looking for some new job opportunity.

We started getting responses slowly; also, we started approaching HR's personally one by one who are hiring during COVID-19. The main value proposition we are giving to HR's is that they can filter out candidates according to requirement without initially checking the CV's one by one, also we are providing free access of Live Database of Form Responses (Consist of Job Seekers Details) in which on daily basis more than 60 plus New Responses are coming.

Challenges Faced in making the Covid-19 Free Job Forum:

Our Job Seekers Registration started going down, and the reason which we got to know is that the people didn't have trust. A majority thought that we were just doing a collection of databases. We brainstormed and thought of various ideas to build trust among Job Seekers to increase registrations in Google Form. As a result, we started sending mails to various HR's as well as job seekers where we thought of using our original identity as well as we shared our LinkedIn profile link & personal mail ids so that if anybody has any doubt then they can get in touch with us anytime.

After this, we also thought of making a Company Page on LinkedIn on which did not share any job updates like other Job Pages.

Rather we acted as a marketplace/bridge between Job Seekers and Job Givers. On our LinkedIn Pages, we started sharing useful resources i.e. other jobs related LinkedIn pages or profiles, which are sharing Job Resources, these steps, helped us in a very positive manner.

Our responses started increasing and once we crossed 500 Responses we have around 7 HR's who are checking the database for hiring. Few HR's have asked us how we are making sure that Job Seekers data is secure. For us data security is of utmost priority and our responses sheet is accessible to anybody on request and on view basis only. Also before giving access to any mail ids, we cross check whether they are currently hiring or not.

Marketing of Covid-19 Free Job Forum:

There is no specific marketing we did for our forum. Our initiative has been liked by many industry individuals, which help us in scaling rapidly. We have seen that few HR's are sharing (as we used to get the request to give access) the Database with other HR's who are currently hiring. As well as on the Job Seekers side, various people are helping us by sharing it in their network.

This is probably the first time a community of HR's is coming together for mutual benefit without any financial interests involved.

Vital Stats of COVID-19 Free Jobs Forum:

Metrics is the thing that I am always obsessed with, both business as well as other initiatives. Progress is about moving a metric positively without negatively impacting other metrics.

Recently we have completed a month as well as 8000+ Registrations of Job Seekers through Google Form. We have 400+ HR's actively using our database from Top Companies. On a daily basis 40-50 use to be active on Google Sheet. We are able to track it via Google Activity Dashboard. We are going more aggressively towards on boarding of more HRs.

We have recently created a Live Online Jobs & Internship Sheet also, to help Job Seekers so that they can view recent job openings (350+ Recent Job Listings) and can apply directly. Within 4 Days of its launch, we have seen traffic of 1500 Unique Users using it.

We have even planned to take it on a higher scale; we do not have any plans to monetise this initiative as we did it to help people as well to understand our learnings by building a simplified Job Marketplace.

Nevertheless, today if people are looking for business opportunities through the outbreak of Covid-19, it is important to think of Jack Ma's words - "It is not an opportunity but your responsibility to serve the community."

Form for Job Seekers or Job Giver: https://bit.ly/COVIDFreeJobsForum

Live Job Listings here: https://bit.ly/JobsAndInternshipList

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